The Blog that's not always wrong.

Friday, 11 June 2010

Can't see the wood

Trees in forest

                                                         Well there's the trees

Let us consider the case of Joe Cole. Not in a transfer target sort of way but in a discussion of general principles regarding our settled squad and the steady progress we have made, sort of way because, as you know, I never comment on transfers. But Joe Cole is different for a number of reasons and we need to separate the wood from the trees.

Firstly there is the Redknapp connection: spotted and nurtured by him as a sapling and all that. I'm pretty sure that such nostalgic connections count for little at the top end of the Premiership. However £100,00 per week and rising might. After all that's the main reason that he can't get an agreement with Chelsea who clearly don't think he's worth the money. What canker lies beneath this apparently thriving English Oak? We might like to question what that is.

And our beloved Chairman will too. £100,00 per week, that's a lot of bagels; something like ten lorry loads a week I guess, though more accurate calculations are welcomed by knowledgeable correspondents in the bagel logistics and transport world. Is Joe Cole so good that we would break our wage structure to sign him? We would need to increase our top wage by 50% from something in the region of £70,000 to meet his demands.

Would the other players accept this, however it was structured? He would come on a free with, say, a hefty signing on fee to offset his wages. But any such arrangement would not deceive other members of the squad. This might unsettle the players who have benefited from stability and who are showing signs of bonding and team spirit lately. It would look strange if Joe was excluded from the pre- match hug because of his salary level.

Is he a player that we desperately need when we have a player who is as good, more versatile, and younger in Modric and a talented back up in Dos Santos? Again is it worth risking the serenity we have enjoyed over the last 18 months for Joe Cole? Of course if Harry can do a deal for Cole which doesn't threaten all this then fine. You can't have too many good players, 'It's the bad players that are a luxury' as Danny Blanchflower once observed, although it hasn't quite worked out for Man.City who have planted out too many Giant Sequoias in too confined a space and have to keep pruning them to avoid suffocation. They've already lost one experienced tree surgeon because of it.

If Harry is going to do the business he would be advised not to wait too long as Joe looks to have regained fitness and form and could well have a good World Cup. Which is why he is delaying discussions on his future as he might have more attractive offers to consider than teaming up with his boyhood mentor and playing for what he might consider peanuts. Peanut logistic and transport experts might care to calculate how many lorry loads per week that is.

If he is prepared to change clubs because his wage demands can't be met then it makes no sense for him to look at Spurs. Like Lampard and John Terry he has never signed for a club outside London yet. The attached WAGS might view territory North of Potters Bar with some suspicion too. Joe has been there on a bi-weekly basis during the season for several years and hasn't been duly impressed. Transplanting him to the North of England might not be an ideal climate for him to blossom in. His press conference on behalf of the England this week was what is usually designated as a 'Come and get me' plea to managers that he trusts and who appreciate him. Step forward Harry but don't forget Jose at Real Madrid.

About other transfer rumours I will have nothing to say except to observe that perfectly adequate members of the squad are being rejected in favour of 'ace' players from around the world. The flags are out to bid farewell to O'Hara, Jenas, Keane, Pavlyuchenko, Hutton and Bentley in favour of all manner of world stars who probably wouldn't come to us just yet, or whose agents are just looking to fund a six person jacuzzi in the new villa.. Sometimes this is on the dubious grounds that they are not as good as other players. Jenas is not as good as Gerrard and is therefore rubbish is the current piece of non-logic`. Bentley and Beckham suffer the same comparison with equally silly conclusions.

Defoe is not as good as Torres or Drogba: and your point is? These players will not come to us and they are looking for wages that will make Daniel's eyes water. Now, as the Platini reforms take shape, is not the time to start encouraging the multi millionaires to be even more greedy or to put the business plan in jeopardy. Leave that to the men in the city and I don't just mean Manchester. At the moment we are one of the few clubs that meet the new financial criteria, let's keep it that way.

The preoccupation with the 'next level' is blinding us to the fact that we are already there, achieved by the players we already have. Did they not beat Chelsea, Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City twice. Are these not the famed 'next level? Or aspirants to it? Did we get there by paying over the odds for the You tube All Stars, World Wonder Kids or welcoming last chance mercenaries who crawled out of the woodwork? We did not. If some or all of Keane, Gudjohnsen and Pavlyuchenko go we need replacements. We probably need a holding striker to give us flexibility. Otherwise keep faith with the boys that got us there unless, like O'Hara, they want to leave.

Remember Harry himself wasn't supposed to be good enough to take us to the next level. I don't hear too many calls for lopping off his head though there are undoubtedly better managers out there. So fans talk of 'freshening up' the squad, by which they mean chop out the dead wood and get some well seasoned players in. Sounds simple but first you have to identify the surplus timber and make sure that their replacements are: firstly, better than what we've got; secondly, that they want to come to us; thirdly, that we can afford them; and fourthly that they will fit into the current squad. I once bought a splendid sideboard at an auction only to find that it was riddled with woodworm when I got it home.

So there you have it :about transfers I have positively no comment whatsoever except to observe that gift horses should always be closely examined by a qualified vet. I just hope that Daniel has the Rentokil hot-line number handy just in case.




9 comments:

Anonymous said...

good article totally agree every pre season us fans talk about getting rid of 10 players & bringing in 10. this obviously doesn't help any settled squad!

I think if we can get good money for Pav, O'hara, Hutton & maybe keane, then re-invest that money with 2 really class players.

Anonymous said...

We don't need wholesale changes, just a player to take us a step further and one or two who can then keep us there with their experience. I wouldn't hazard a guess at who, as I agree that we are still not going to attract the players people are hoping, until we have consistently consolidated our position in the top 4.

Anonymous said...

14:35 - This time around people are saying sell 7, but bring in 2 - which is even worse this time when we have extra games this season.

Anonymous said...

100,00 a week? that's below national average...

Anonymous said...

Agree with much of what you say although Harry has said that he would look at a signing or two if they really were a step up. Noone in their right mind wants wholesale changes but we have to move forward or we will go backwards - City are bound to improve and I cant see us overtaking the top 3 just yet. In any case I think a couple of our players either want to leave or are earmarked for the exit - JOH wants guaranteed football, Harry doesnt seem to like Gio, Adel or Hutton and it is questionable whether JJ or Keane will be happy to spend long periods on the bench. Pav might prefer going back home if a deal can be done. Most of those above (with exception perhaps of Keane/Pav) are fringe players whose departure prob wont make a huge difference and their fees/salaries could be used elsewhere. One of Harry's best skills is that he brings in players who buy into the team/squad ethic and atmosphere. All of those mentioned above were from the previous regime and perhaps had different expectations.

TMWNN said...

Ha ha, nice try JimmyG2,

Your logic that just because Jenas isn't as good as Gerrard doesn't make him rubbish is just as flawed as the one that states it does.

Just leave Gerrard out of the argument and you're left with a rubbish player. It's as simple as that.

I also agree with the comment above, stand still in this league and you'll drop like a stone. Better players must be found (3 or 4) if we want to stay top 4.

JimmyG2 said...

TMWWN
We ar not standing still even if we keep exactly the same players and manager.
We develop as a team, a squad and a club.
Our new status gives us confidence. Stability gives us confidence in each other.
Now actually I don't seriously propose staying exactly the same but I use JJ as an extreme example of a tendency.
I have downgraded him from 'star man' to ' good squad player'.
3 or 4 new first team players is possibly too many.

TMWNN said...

If, as expected, we sell Jenas, Keane, O'Hara, Hutton and probably Pav too, they will all need to be replaced. So make that 4 or 5 better players coming in than the ones going out.

JimmyG2 said...

Assorted Anons

I think everybody has realised the advantage of steady progress and it is mainly the papers that link us with all and sundry and generate the hype, aided and abetted by Agents of course.
We have tried to cut corners for two decades and it doesn't work,
Jol's sacking was the last straw for many and not before time.

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